Harrison, New Jersey (April 21, 2018) — Defender Aaron Long expected another clean sheet at home. The New York Red Bulls faced the Chicago Fire on their annual Autism Awareness Night. While the play once again heavily favored the home side, it was the visiting Fire who handed them their first loss at home for 2018.
New York Red Bulls Fall to Chicago Fire, Drop First Home Game of 2018
Long, Lawrence Track Opponents
Defenders Aaron Long, Tim Parker, and Kemar Lawrence had their work cut out for them against 2017 Golden Boot winner Nemanja Nikolic. RBNY’s signature high press often caught the striker offside. Panamanian international Michael Amir Murillo had a role higher in the field in the first half. Anticipating his World Cup absence, head coach Jesse Marsch has previously hinted at utilizing Murillo differently heading into the summer. While they were able to keep Chicago to just four shots on the day, their efforts ultimately did not keep the ball out of the net for the full 90.
Fire Strike First
The Chicago Fire came out, like every team that has defeated the Red Bulls this season, with something to prove. Now 2-3-1 on the season, Chicago had to show they were not the same team that rolled over for RBNY in the 2017 playoffs. Opponents scoring on set pieces is a common refrain for RBNY. While the initial defense on the Fire corner in the 30th minute was effective, forward Aleksandar Katai capitalized on his moment outside the box. At the half, Chicago was up by a goal. Nikolic doubled the lead with a penalty kick in the 68th minute.
Bradley Wright-Phillips Pulls One Back
Set piece scoring has also proven to be a counterpoint for the Red Bulls. Striker Bradley Wright-Phillips found his fifth goal of the season in the 81st minute, following a scuffle in the box after a corner from substitute Sean Davis. When RBNY striker Daniel Royer found the net for the first time this season, however, the goal was called back as Derrick Etienne Jr. was ruled offside. The next best chance came in the form of a free kick outside the box. Murillo cleared the wall but the ball sailed wide left. Despite 11 shots per half, the Red Bulls ended their unbeaten streak at home with a 2-1 loss.
The Red Bulls make the cross-country trip to visit a revitalized LA Galaxy next Saturday.